Listen With Others

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Setter’s Blog: ‘Moon’ by Encota

Posted by Encota on 15 July 2018

  • It was Midsummer 2016 and Sir Trevor Nunn had returned to his home town of Ipswich to (complete the set and) direct his 37th out of the 37 Shakespeare’s plays.  Whilst watching his production of the A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, I noticed that the character ‘Bully’ Bottom’s first name was actually Nick.  ‘Nick Bottom’ sounded (to me, anyway) like an instruction to steal (remove) the last letter – and so the germ of an idea was born.
  • The theme – perhaps like the one used in the delightful puzzle ‘horn’ by Mr E in this month’s excellent Magpie magazine – once thought of, was nigh-on impossible to resist!  I managed finally to submit it to the Listener a year or so later, for publication on or close to a following Midsummer.
  • I double-checked that I had the Title of the Play exactly right – especially where that apostrophe sat …
  • Seeing the puzzle a year later during the proof-reading phase I did feel that, even though I had kept the average word length above 5.5, I had settled for rather too many 3-letter words.  I’ll try and do better next time!
  • The clue I was perhaps most pleased with was: Around 31.4 North this (and nine others) could be triangulated? (6), with the ’around 31.4 N’ wordplay being for TENPIN (TEN PI + N).  I am sure it’s been done before (hasn’t everything?) but I’ve never seen it.  [And examples include Israel, Texas or Tibet, just in case you were wondering.]
  • My thanks as ever to all at The Listener, especially Roger who helped tighten up several of my clues
  • And the title? To Moon = to show one’s Bottom.  That’s enough lowering of the tone for one blog 🙂
  • Finally, several people have asked me about my pseudonym, ‘Why Encota?’  Apart from it sounding vaguely like ‘encoder’ when pronounced in a mid-Atlantic drawl, which seemed faintly logical for a puzzle creator, perhaps this CD cover from probably my favourite band ‘Porcupine Tree’ hints at its true source.  If you like sometimes loud yet often melodic rock music and haven’t heard them, then perhaps give them a try.  If not, then look away now …

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One Response to “Setter’s Blog: ‘Moon’ by Encota”

  1. Steve said

    I really liked the TENPIN clue — well done on that one.

    Also a fan of Porcupine Tree, although I didn’t know about Octane Twisted. But then, I didn’t really get on with The Incident (In Absentia and Deadwing were my faves)… but will give it another shot right now in honour of your excellent puzzle.

    Cheers.

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